Heat-Free Peeling for Fresh Tomatoes

by Texas Homesteader ~ 

I needed a heat-free way to peel fresh garden tomatoes. I already knew that the standard way to peel a fresh garden tomato is to dip it in boiling for a few seconds until the skin splits, then plunge into an ice bath before peeling.

But a typical summer here in NE Texas involves much heat & humidity and I don’t want to add any of that to our home. What’s a southern gardener to do?

HEAT-FREE Peeling For Fresh Tomatoes - I don't want to add heat and humidity to our home. What's a southern gardener to do? Check out this Homestead Hack #TexasHomesteader

Harvesting Garden Tomatoes

You know how it is… It’s the same whether you’re growing your veggie garden in the south or the north. Most gardeners absolutely love garden tomatoes.

And it’s quite easy to get carried away when planting tomatoes in the early spring, our taste buds anxiously anticipating the flavor explosion of that first fresh hand-picked tomato.

Home-Grown Tomatoes Taste Best

Any gardener will tell you, there’s no taste comparison for a commercially-grown & grocery store purchased tomato versus a tomato picked from your garden at the peak of freshness. 

07-19 heirloom Amish Paste tomato from seed washed beneath mom's house. #TexasHomesteader


Because of that anticipation we’re often planting and harvesting way more tomatoes from our gardens than we can possibly eat fresh.

But there’s so much work that goes into growing those flavorful orbs. All the way from planting tomato seeds or seedlings, weeding and watering, staking and nurturing the plant until it gives up its sweet harvest of summer – the much-coveted garden tomato! I’m not gonna let a single one go to waste.

Freezing Excess Garden Tomatoes

When my garden is producing more tomatoes than we can eat fresh I freeze them. It’s pretty straightforward.

When I bring those fresh tomatoes inside from the garden I simply wash them, pat them dry and cut them in half.

Oftentimes since I typically grow heirloom San Marzano tomatoes I’ll scoop out the seeds since it’s so quick & easy to do with this variety. And then I’ll place those halved, seeded tomatoes into a freezer bag without further preparation.

Easier Tomato Peeling

But being able to preserve fresh garden tomatoes is only one of the benefits of freezing them.

You may ask: “Is it true that you can peel a frozen tomato easily without boiling & plunging into an ice bath??”

Oh man, you’re not gonna believe this!

Frozen Tomatoes Peel Easily

When I’m ready to use those tomatoes I’ll bring them out of the freezer and allow them to slightly thaw – just enough to where the outsides are becoming softer but the insides are still frozen.

Then the peel slips right off in seconds! No boiling water, no timing the tomatoes in the water nor dealing with an ice bath. Simply grab hold of the tomato skin and pull!

HEAT-FREE Peeling For Fresh Tomatoes - I don't want to add heat and humidity to our home. What's a southern gardener to do? Check out this Homestead Hack #TexasHomesteader

Now I just chop up my seeded/peeled tomato and go ahead with my recipe. Easy and no extra heat or humidity in the house!

Oh and that tomato skin? I use it too. I’ll dehydrate and grind it into a Tomato Powder

Tomato skins dried & ground into a powder.. #TexasHomesteader

I’m able to rehydrate that powder into tomato paste or just add flavor to my winter-time Endless Soup. Nothing wasted!


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19 thoughts on “Heat-Free Peeling for Fresh Tomatoes

  1. Brenda in TX

    Agree from a fellow Texan! Another tip. . . Pull them from the freezer before going to bed, allowing them to thaw by morning, all the clearish juice drains from them. I then pull each tomato out, skin, and plop in a pot to make sauce without having to cook forever to get the extra water cooked out. I can all that juice for using in soups. Plus the luxury of postponing the canning until the weather cools down and the garden slows down is a win–win.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes, Yes, YES! Thanks for the tip Brenda. Less cook time just to cook out the excess juice saves time and money too! ~TxH~

  2. John White

    I also use the freeze method on Kiwi. Cut one end off and slice the skin down one side and the skin slips right off. I haven’t found a use yet for the skins…

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Never thought about kiwi John – thanks for the tip!

  3. ilene

    I do this too! Sometimes I don’t have enough ripe to make a canner load so freezing them allows me to accumulate without worrying about spoilage. If I have the freezer space I can even wait till the weather’s cooler to can my tomatoes.

    I don’t understand those people who can tomatoes without peeling them. Have they actually then eaten the canned tomatoes, I wonder? The peel, when cooked, becomes tough, usually slides off the tomato and rolls itself up into a tight little unchewable tube. No Way I’m serving that to my family and watching them all picking tomato skins out after they’ve had the mouth experience, or YIPES, choked on one.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      There’s a lot to be said for canning tomatoes in the cold months as opposed to the heat & humidity of summer, eh ilene?? 😉

  4. Lisa M

    I would have never thought to peel them this way. Great idea!

    Thanks for linking up with Green Thumb Thursday. I hope you’ll join us again this week!


  5. JES

    Great tip! We get so humid and hot in the summer that peeling tomatoes is a grueling act. This is very helpful! Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! 🙂

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Yes JES – that’s what I struggle with as well. I can’t stand to stand over a steaming pot of boiling water while I dip tomatoes in to release their skins. This method works so much better for me.

  6. Lisa @ Fun Money Mom

    Wow…who knew it could be so easy! Thanks so much for sharing your awesome tip with Share The Wealth Sunday!

  7. Jennifer A

    I am so glad to know this now! The boiling method is so hot, and uses so much energy. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop! I’m pinning!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Agreed Jennifer – I hate to add heat & humidity to my kitchen when our NE Texas environment battles heat & humidity in the summertime. This method works beautifully for me.

  8. Lana

    I have a Russian friend who told me that they don’t peel tomatoes before canning them in Russia. She says they are delicious and she is very picky about the taste of any type of food. I have not tried this but I would rather pull off the soft skins after canning than before.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      Isn’t it wonderful how many variations of preserving food there are Lana? Gotta love it! I’ve not been very successful pulling off skins after canning, it seems for me that it leaves too many tough bits in my sauce. I have been successful with the ole tried-n-true method of dipping the tomatoes in boiling water but oh the extra heat & humidity in my kitchen makes it miserable. This freezing method works well for our hot/humid climate.

  9. patti

    What a great tip…I just finished preparing a huge pot of sauce!

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      It’s still pretty hot & humid here in NE Texas Patti so although this is the only way I’ll peel tomatoes in the heat of summertime, I’m still using this hack whenever I’m peeling fresh tomatoes even though it’s October. LOL

  10. Margy

    Thanks for the great tip. – Margy

  11. Greg Hill

    Thanks for sharing this little Hack, anything to make peeling tomatoes easier is a Big Plus.

    1. Texas Homesteader Post author

      I’m with you Greg! I always hated standing over a steaming pot of water in the heat of summer, then handling those hot tomatoes and hoping I didn’t steam them too long. This freezing trick works great for me!


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